[SUBW] SUBW Trip Report - Midwinter Walk 24-6-17

Bruce Stafford bstaffor at med.usyd.edu.au
Thu Jun 29 22:53:24 AEST 2017

SUBW Trip Report - Midwinter Walk 24-6-17.

Party: Bruce (leading), Harriet, Hendrick, Cathie, Zhong, Gong.

6 people was not a bad turnout for a saturday walk in the middle of  
exam period. I originally had 11 sign up but 3 pulled out for health  
reasons, and 2 just pulled out - didn't give a reason. At least there  
were no "no-shows".

It was not really "mid-winter", being just 3 days after the winter  
solstice (June 21), but that's the name given to the festival at  
Katoomba on the closest saturday to the winter solstice. (Some people  
from the Northern Hemisphere might say we don't have winter here at  
all!!). As it turned out, the weather was perfectly clear all day, but  
was also the first few days of the onset of cold weather. On my way to  
the station I was greeted by the sight of a very bright Venus shining  
high in the sky.

Anyway, we made our ways by train to Leura Station in the morning,  
with an early departure and a change of trains at Penrith for 3 of us  
to beat the overcrowding often experienced on trains going to this  
festival. Cathie however got caught out with trackwork on the  
Illawarra Line and departed Central 55 minutes behind the rest of us.  
Originally I would have instructed her to walk straight down Leura  
Mall to Gordon Falls Reserve, this being a direct route whereas we  
were going there the long way via Lyrebird Dell. It turned out however  
that due to our own trains being delayed, she was only going to be 35  
minutes behind us at Leura. This gave the rest of us the opportunity  
for loo stops and coffee at a cafe called the Wayzgoose, which gave us  
decent coffees in a warm room. Cathie met up with us there.

So we set off for Lone Pine Reserve and then to the Pool Of Siloam.  
The track was drier than usual as there had been no rain for a week,  
but still a bit muddy and slippery in parts. After checking out the  
Pool of Siloam (a popular swimming spot in summer) we then headed up  
the "Never-ending Steps" to Gordon Falls Reserve. The down to Gordon  
falls Lookout. There was a clear view all the way to Mt Gibraltar near  
Bowral in the Southern Highlands.
We proceeded along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk which has no shortage  
of superb views over Jamison Valley, the King's Tableland, and Mount  
Solitary, as the photos show. (Apparently the track is named after  
Prince Henry, son of King George V).
We reached the lookout of Tarpeian Rock where we had lunch in a sunny  
spot on this cold day.
Then it was on to the junction with the Leura cascades Track. We  
stopped her for some time lapse photos of the Cascades. Then down to  
the intersection with the start of the Federal Pass track. This goes  
down some fairly steep metal steps and eventually we ended up at the  
base of Bridal Veil Falls.
At this point I cautioned the others not to stop from here on until  
the other side of Leura Forest as we were approaching Leech country.

So we set off through a ferny gully until reaching Leura Forest.  
Noticed some people at the picnic tables (unwittingly collecting  
leeches??) and also a Bush Turkey (probably also collecting leeches  
for lunch). This is the first time I have seen a Bush Turkey in the  
Blue Mountains - historically they were never seen south of the  
Hawkesbury River until the 1980s.
Dardanelles Pass starts here - not well signposted I should mention.  
We started off along that Pass, and came across a male Lyrebird with  
full tail dashing across the track - too fast to be photographed.  
Later on another Lyrebird was seen scratching in the leaf litter -  
probably a female as it didn't have the long tail feathers.
We came to the bottom of the Giant Stairway below the Three Sisters.  
As we wanted to take in the Festival on Katoomba's main street before  
going home, we decided to go up this very steep stairway instead of  
going to the slightly easier Furber's Steps, which would have added 45  
minutes to our walk.
So up we went, with several stops on the way up, both for rests and to  
allow tourists coming down to pass us at "passing loops". (I got the  
impression that a lot of these tourists would be going back up via the  
Scenic Railway - I was telling them that it is $15 one way, but their  
website says $21 for one-way out of the Valley!!).
So at last we reached the top of the Giant Stairway which it right at  
the Three Sisters, with hordes of tourists. After a loo stop at Echo  
Point, it was a road bash to Katoomba's main street and all the  
festival stalls which were selling all sorts of things. As we were  
bound to get separated in the crowds, we all split up here and went  
our own ways.
Zhong stayed in Katoomba, camping out. The rest of us got back to  
Sydney around 6.30pm.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk.

My Photo link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brstafford/sets/72157683187773761

Bruce Stafford.

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